Increase in Legionnaires’ Disease cases in Jackson County

JACKSON CO., Mich (WLNS) – There has been a dramatic jump in cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in Jackson County this year.

The Jackson County Health Department says there have been eight confirmed cases through the end of September 2016.

That is compared to a baseline of 0-4 cases reported over the same time period for the past five years.

Since the start of the year one case of reported in March, one in April, three in August and three in September.

The Health Department has determined that one of the cases was travel-related and the person was infected outside of Michigan.

Legionnaires’ disease causes pneumonia and is characterized by fever, headache, body aches, shortness of breath, and cough.

It’s caused by bacteria that is found naturally in fresh water lakes and streams.

The bacteria can become a health hazard in warm water or stagnate water.

Water that is in whirlpool spas, potable water systems or decorative fountains can lead to bacteria growth.

Healthy people typically aren’t at risk for infection. There is greater risk for current or former smokers, people over 50, people with chronic lung diseases or people with already weak immune systems. Legionnaires’ disease generally does not spread from person to person.

The Jackson County Health Department is continuing to look for new cases.

If you have questions or concerns you should contact the Jackson County Health Department Communicable Disease Office at 517-768-1662.

ONLINE: CDC on Legionnaires’ disease

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